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A question Sri Lanka’s leaders keep dodging: Where are the disappeared?

Mar 22 (GV) I’d been in Sri Lanka just three weeks when I first heard of someone disappearing. It was May 2009 and I got an anonymous email telling me that Stephen Sunthararaj, a human rights worker from northern Sri Lanka, had been abducted at gunpoint and taken away in a white van in the heart of Colombo. He had previously been detained by the police – on suspicion of what, it is not clear – then released for lack of more..

Why the US resolution should be defeated?

Mar 22 (Island) Those Sri Lankans who wish that the Resolution on Sri Lanka submitted by the USA to the UNHRC be passed appear to have based their conclusion on two principal arguments. Let me begin by summarising these arguments. The first focuses on the content of the resolution. Welcoming the statement made by the Indian Prime Minister at the Lok Sabha, Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu of Centre for Policy Alternatives said it was "important and significant that the govt of India more..

Geneva saga: Farah Mihlar and others tosse cats out of the bag

Mar 22 (CT) They say that if you give some people enough rope they will hang themselves with it. On March 19, 2012, in Geneva, no one needed give any rope to several individuals who came to talk about ‘Rule of law and human rights violations in Sri Lanka’. They came with enough rope and a scaffolding to boot, so to speak. The event was one of the many side-shows at the 19th Sessions of the UNHRC. It was ‘show’ alright and began before it all began. more..

Central Bank emphatic dollars are coming

Mar 22 (FT) The Central Bank yesterday was emphatic that much needed dollars are coming to Sri Lanka and the foreign exchange market, reassuring that stability was on course. In an apparent reaction to widespread criticism including that of UNP MP Dr. Harsha de Silva’s claim that the robust inflows projected under the Central Bank’s 2012 and beyond roadmap presented early this year, the monetary authority said foreign currency inflows have increased substantially more..

Rupee barely holds its ground

Mar 22 (Island) The rupee weakened marginally against the dollar yesterday on thin volumes while state banks were seen selling dollars, currency dealers said. The Central Bank issuing a statement yesterday said foreign inflows amounting to around US$ 763 million had come in so far this year, but with a significant portion being absorbed into reserves, the rupee did not benefit at all. The rupee closed at Rs. 129.90/130.10 against the dollar yesterday after opening the day at Rs. 129.80/130 with trades being quoted as high as Rs. 131. more..

Thinking about the English visitors

Mar 22 (ST) Sri Lanka may have won the Cricket World Cup once, but that is not the pinnacle in cricket as a whole. What Sri Lanka won was the Limited Overs championship, but alas that is the only thing that is being bartered around by the ICC as a World Cup at preset. Yet for the purist, the topmost form of the game is Test cricket, for which there is no substitute. Unlike Sri Lanka, England, the very inventors of this wonderful sport, are yet to win the Cricket World Cup more..

GoSL warns member states against Western moves

Mar 22 (Island) GoSL sources said that the US resolution targeting Sri Lanka would be a threat to many countries. The Sri Lanka mission in Geneva has put out a special note highlighting the dangers posed by the US Draft Resolution ‘Promoting Reconciliation and Accountability in Sri Lanka (3/6/12)’ as part of its overall efforts to thwart the move. The following are the main points: This Resolution will lead to the Council for the more..

State-owned vehicles the biggest offenders: 760 belching vehicles identified

Mar 22 (Island) The Air Resource Management Centre of the Ministry of Environment has identified 760 vehicles as not being suitable to move on the roads due to their high emission of smoke. Most of those vehicles belong to State institutions, particularly the State run bus service, police vehicles, and other government-owned vehicles. The seven hundred odd vehicles were identified following the recently implemented 20 pilot spotter programmes. more..

Business leader urges country not to bow to US dictates

Mar 22 (Island) Sri Lanka should maintain a strong economic plan and strengthen the sovereignty of the country to defeat the present conspiracy from the USA, Mawbima Lanka Padanama, Chairman Ariyasheela Wickramanayake said yesterday. Wickramanayake said that Sri Lanka should not obey US dictates and demands. The country could become self-sufficient in day to day essentials without depending on foreign products while importing only essential items such as oil. more..

Nasheed due in Colombo today, to meet diplomats

Mar 22 (Island) Former Maldivian President Mohammed Nasheed who alleges that the National Defence Force and police forced him to resign from office at gun point, is scheduled to arrive in Sri Lanka today. Ibrahim Zaki, the Ex Special Envoy of Nasheed, speaking to "The Island" by telephone from Male, said that he would be accompanying the former President and they will be in Colombo by today. more..

Two new Lichens from Horton Plains

Mar 22 (ST) Two new lichen species have been discovered at Horton Plains by botanists. Scientifically named Anzia mahaeliyensis and Anzia flavotenuis, these will upgrade the endemic checklist of Sri Lankan Lichens. A field study on lichen diversity in Horton Plains conducted by Dr. Udeni Jayalal together with Dr. Siril Wijesundara and Prof. Veranja Karunaratne in 2004/2005 under a research grant by the National Science Foundation (NSF) led to this discovery. more..

Australian Senate focus on Sri Lanka

Mar 22 (BBC) The Australian Senate expressed concerns over the human rights situation In Sri Lanka in a motion to call on the Australian govt, to back a United States sponsored resolution on Sri Lanka. The United States has submitted a resolution to the 19th Session of the UNHRC in Geneva calling for Sri Lanka to implement the recommendations of the presidential war panel, LLRC. The motion moved in the Australain Senate by Senator Lee Rhiannon, Foreign Minister Bob Carr and Senator Gary Humphries said that more..

Monk murders: Basnayake Nilame of G’muwa temple arrested

Mar 22 (Island) Police investigating Tuesday’s double-murder at the Kotte Rajamahaviharaya have arrested the Basnayake Nilame of a temple in the Galigamuwa police area. The Maharagama police arrested the suspect in the early hours of yesterday. The suspect, under interrogation, had admitted his involvement in the killing of Ven. Pitigala Jinasiri thera (81) and Ven. Boralesgamuwe Gunaratne (61) Tuesday night. more..

Editorial: Sri Lanka must address war crimes charges and show respect for Tamil rights

Mar 22 (TS) Three years after bringing Sri Lanka’s bitter 25-year civil war to an end, President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his triumphalist govt risk becoming pariahs. At the United Nations they are under fire for not fully probing what the UN calls “credible allegations” of war crimes, and for not healing the broken nation. In Geneva this week Canada is co-sponsoring an American push at the UNHRC to demand that Rajapaksa’s Sinhala-dominated govt set up a “credible and more..

Editorial: Sri Lanka's day of reckoning

Mar 22 (Hindu) At the UNHRC in Geneva, the Sri Lankan and U.S. govts are facing off this week over a resolution that the U.S. has proposed but neither side wanted. Sri Lanka's response to the events at the end of its toxic war — the subject of that resolution — has become the driving issue in Sri Lanka's relations with the United States. The resolution may not have much impact on the reconciliation process that is so critical for Sri Lanka's future. For the sake of Sri Lanka, more..

I dated Dilshan, says Nupur Mehta

Mar 22 (IT) Starlet Nupur Mehta has added a new twist to the ongoing match-fixing allegations that have lately come her way. She now claims she was seeing Sri Lankan cricketer Tillakaratne Dilshan around the time of the 2009 T20 World Cup in England. Nupur's new revelation comes in the wake of her recently admitting to The Sunday Times, London, that she met some international cricketers by chance at a London casino during the T20 tournament. more..

UNHRC war crimes push angers Sri Lankans

Mar 22 (CT) SRI Lanka has warned a vote this week on a UN Human Rights Council resolution that could lead to a fresh probe into alleged war crimes committed during the 26-year civil conflict will derail the delicate peace process there. The 47-member council is due to vote tomorrow on the US-sponsored resolution, which calls for the Sinhalese majority government “to address serious allegations of violations of international law by initiating credible and independent investigations and prosecutions of more..

Rights and Wrongs

Mar 22 (IE) The RSS weekly, Organiser, has taken a strong stand on the resolution against Sri Lanka being moved at the UNHRC, saying India should not support this US-sponsored resolution. The lead editorial contends that the United States, whose track record is “pathetic” when it comes to human rights violations, now wants to intervene because it will open up the possibility of a similar role in India, which faces internal problems in Kashmir and the Northeast, from Naxalites and and Islamic extremists, more..

'No foreign intervention will be condoned'

Mar 22 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa said yesterday that Sri Lankans are used to protecting and safeguarding human rights for more than 2,500 years. He said following the eradication of 30 years of terrorism and when the country has been placed on a rapid development track, no foreign intervention will be allowed and no one can meddle in the internal affairs of the country. The President said Sri Lankans have been protecting more..

Rupee fall no cure-all for Sri Lanka exports

Mar 22 (Reuters) Textiles exporters hoping the fall of Sri Lanka’s rupee would drive a boom this year are set to be disappointed as a resulting rise in costs of imported materials undermines margins, the Export Development Board (EDB) said. Firms have been calling for years for a weaker currency to help them compete with other low-cost Asian producers; a change in the central bank’s approach to the currency has driven the rupee 14 percent lower in the past month. more..

UK Labour hails US resolution

Mar 22 (CT) UK Shadow Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Douglas Alexander and three Labour party leaders hailed the US resolution on Sri Lanka and urged all council members to support the resolution at the UNHRC in Geneva. Former cabinet ministers and current Members of Parliament, David Miliband, Jack Straw, Margaret Beckett and Douglas Alexander stated on a joint statement that if the US resolution implemented, there would be an important first step in ensuring long-lasting peace. more..

'Attempt to revive LTTE terrorism foiled'

Mar 22 (Island) There were thousands of LTTE cadres still at large with caches of arms and explosives dumps hidden in the former war zone and, therefore, the threat of terrorism persisted to some extent, Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa told the heads of media institutions and newspaper editors yesterday at the Defence Ministry. He said some people mistakenly believed that simply because the LTTE had been defeated and Prabhakaran killed, terrorism was over. more..

HR:EU C’bo mission responds to ‘double standards’ allegations

Mar 22 (Island) Amidst allegations of Western double-standards in dealing with human rights situation in various parts of the world depending on their political and security interests, the EU delegation in Colombo claimed that the grouping promoted and defended human rights ‘both within its borders and when engaging in relations with non-EU countries. EU Ambassador to Sri Lanka Bernard Savage said that the grouping considered human rights as universal and indivisible. more..

India forced to undermine GoSL in Geneva

Mar 22 (Island) Those calling for India to support the US resolution targeting Sri Lanka on accountability issues had conveniently forgotten that India, too, was under investigation by the UNHRC in Geneva, GoSL officials said. sources said that proponents of the US resolution had failed to comprehend the gravity of the UN attack on India at the current session. India represents Asia in the 47-nation UNHRC divided into five regional groups and key-member of the South more..

UN rights council to debate Sri Lanka conflict

Mar 22 (AFP) Sri Lanka comes under the spotlight this week when the UN Human Rights Council considers a US resolution urging Colombo to probe alleged violations during its war with Tamil separatists. Rights groups say up to 40,000 civilians died in the final months of Colombo's military campaign to crush the Tamil Tigers, who waged a bloody decades-long campaign for a separate homeland for minority Tamils. more..

Nurses’ sick note campaign a flop

Mar 22 (Island) The sick note campaign, launched yesterday by the All Ceylon Nurses Union in 20 hospitals countrywide, did not meet with much success. ACNU Secretary Sisira Senaratne said that that only some hospitals had participated in the campaign. The ACNU made ten demands from the government. The campaign had been successful in Kandy, Matale, Badulla, Mawanella, Nuwara Eliya, Kurunegala, Puttalam, Kalutara and some units of the National Hospital. more..

Much of what was stolen from museum were replicas

Mar 22 (Island) Some of the artifacts that were stolen from the National Museum in Colombo last Saturday night were dummies, according to the Directress of the Museum, Dr. Nanda Wickramasinghe. When The Island inquired about the lost items, she said that all the coins that were stolen were replicas and there were other replicas which only staff members were aware of. She said that the dummies were placed because the real items were kept in a safe place. more..

The seedy world of politico-underworld nexus

Mar 22 (LB) The higher ups of the political establishment are feeling the heat due to public exposure of an emerging Mafiosi culture within local politics; worst still, to a govt facing international scrutiny in Geneva, much of the alleged complicity is blamed on ruling party politicos. This has now prompted the SLFP General Secretary Maithripala Sirisena to request the IGP, N.K. Illangakon to furnish a list of ruling party politicians at more..

'Take over Malabe Medical College'

Mar 22 (LT) Presenting a special statement in Parliament yesterday (20) JVP MP Anura Dissanayake made a request to the Govt to take over the Private Medical College at Malabe. But the Deputy Minister of Higher Education has left the Chamber without making any response. The statement reads as follows: I would like to draw the attention of this noble Assembly on the problematic situation generated at the South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine more..

‘MPs should not visit electorates without permission’

Mar 22 (CT) The UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe says MPs should not visit another electorate without the permission of the UNP organizer of that particular electorate. The UNP general secretary Tissa Attanayake will inform all the UNP organizers about the new procedure, he said. It is mandatory to get permission when participating in religious activities or Shramadana programmes or more..

Lanka seeks 5,800 Haj pilgrims quota

Mar 22 (AN) Sri Lanka requested yesterday a quota of 5,800 pilgrims for the forthcoming Haj pilgrimage this year. The request was made by visiting Sri Lankan senior minister for Urban Development H.M. Fowzie during his meeting with Minister of Haj Bandar Hajjar in Jeddah on Wednesday. Fowzie said he had requested a one-off quota of 5,800 pilgrims from the Haj minister. The country has more than 3 million Muslims, he added. more..

'Time has come for anti-imperialsit & anti-capitalist patriotic struggle'

Mar 22 (LT) The time has come for a patriotic struggle that is anti-imperialist and anti-capitalist and all patriots should be rallied around a national center for such a struggle says the Member of the Political Bureau of the JVP K.D. Lal Kanthe. Speaking at a public seminar under the theme ‘How can imperialist interventions be defeated?’ held in Colombo yesterday (21st) Mr. Lal Kanthe said, “Imperialists as well as capitalist more..

GoSL urges UK NGO to probe LTTE suppliers

Mar 22 (Island) The British High Commission on Tuesday said that the UK govt took its arms export responsibilities extremely seriously and had some of the most rigorous export controls in the world. A spokesperson for the High Commission, responding to a query by The Island on whether the HC in Colombo was aware of major weapons sale to Sri Lanka during the past decade, especially since 2005, said, without referring to Sri Lanka that: more..

UN probe into Tamil killings is testing India-Sri Lanka ties

Mar 22 (National) Pressure from Tamil citizens is pushing India to back a United Nations resolution calling Sri Lanka to account for human-right violations, threatening diplomatic ties with its southern neighbour. The US-led resolution to be discussed today at the UNHRC in Geneva aims to hold the Sri Lankan govt to account for the carnage that occurred in the last days of its 30-year war with Tamil separatists in 2009. more..

'Malaysia will back Sri Lanka in UN vote'

Mar 22 (FMT) Malaysia will support Sri Lanka and vote against the United Nations resolution seeking investigations into human rights abuses in the last phase of that country’s 29-year civil war, according to former UN special rapporteur Param Cumaraswamy. He told FMT that he reached his conclusion after discussing the matter with senior officials of the Foreign Ministry. “It’s quite common among developing countries to try to support each other without more..

Erik Solheim loses Ministerial position

Mar 22 (ST) The new head of the Norwegian government’s Socialist Left party (SV) has ousted veteran SV politician and former party leader Erik Solheim as the govt minister in charge of both environmental and foreign aid issues,Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) has reported. Solheim was said to be unhappy, and would be leaving the govt against his will, the report said. Erik Solheim led Norway's climate negotiations, promoted more..

China backs Sri Lanka on UNHRC resolution

Mar 22 (Hindu) China on Thursday expressed its strong opposition to a proposed United States-backed resolution at the UNHRC calling on Sri Lanka to address rights violations, describing it as a move to “impose pressure.” Ahead of the crucial vote in Geneva, the Chinese govt went as far as saying that Sri Lanka had made “great strides” in promoting human rights and towards achieving national reconciliation, underscoring its support to an under-pressure Sri Lankan govt. more..

Editorial: Little drops of water make a mighty river

Mar 22 (DM) Much water is flowing under the bridge as we mark World Water Day today with Sri Lanka and other Third World countries being alert to the vital importance of water in the years to come while also focusing more attention on fresh water conservation. For the past two decades the United States and regional super powers have based their geo-political strategies and even gone to war to gain control of oil and natural gas resources though they claim the battle was more..

Beware of employees who handle your credit card

Mar 22 (Island) The Police Media Spokesperson SP Ajith Rohana yesterday advised credit card holders to be extra-vigilant, alert when they hand over their card to third parties such as employees at supermarkets or Petrol Filing Stations or shops as there is always the possibility of these persons passing on their card numbers to criminal elements. This had been revealed to the Police following the arrest of two foreigners with counterfeit credit cards with more..

Cancel all India-Lanka cricket ties, says PIL

Mar 22 (TOI) A public interest litigation (PIL) was filed in the Madurai bench of the Madras high court seeking a direction to the Union govt to cancel all international cricket matches slated to be played between India and Sri Lanka in future, until all disputes are settled in the ethnic crisis between Tamils and Sinhalese, and until total peace prevails in the Bay of Bengal. Calvin Christopher, an advocate, filed the PIL seeking more..